Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Decani Monastery Relief Fund

Saints Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church

Reverend Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes

2618 W Bannock, Boise ID 83706 USA

telephone: (208) 345-6147

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Please Do Not Forget the Decani Fund

An Appeal on behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund

Very Rev Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes

President of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA

Beloved in Christ our Lord,

May the great peace and love of our Lord God always be with you!

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund continues to need your kind assistance for humanitarian aid to those still struggling to survive in the region of Kosovo/Metohija. The nights grow colder in this region and already snow has been seen in the mountains. Soon, the full impact of the notoriously harsh Balkan winter will be felt by all who live in the area. Because of continuing scarcities and homes left damaged and poorly furnished due to the legacy of war, many people will again go hungry and will suffer exposure to freezing temperatures. Again, children and the elderly… those most vulnerable… will especially suffer. We must continue to assist these individuals and families with needed firewood and food; they desperately need these basics just to survive from day to day. The Decani Fund must also continue its support of four schools in the region, thus enabling them to heat the classrooms and provide afternoon meals for the children.

The Fund must also continue to support the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Pristina and His Grace, Bishop Artemije in the effort to supply homeless shelters in the area. Local families who’ve lost their homes or who’ve completely run out of food or resources to obtain food have only these as a last resort to assure their own survival. Two homeless shelters now exist within the diocese. These shelters provide bread and soup three times a week. One shelter has opened a bakery; in order to keep this bakery operating, they need a continuing supply of flour and firewood. Four- to five-hundred families rely on the thrice-weekly distribution of bread. His Grace, Bishop Teodosije the Abbot and Auxiliary bishop, along with some of the monks from the Decani Monastery, utilise your donations to distribute material aid and financial assistance throughout the region of Kosovo/Metohija. We, along with the people of the region, thank you immeasurably for your great kindness, your Christian love, and your humanitarian concern. Without your generosity, the lives of these long-suffering victims of war and ongoing sectarian strife would be even more precarious than they now are!

Please, let us continue to work together on behalf of the Decani Fund to help the desperately needy people of Kosovo/Metohija. I would like to share with you what Elder Joseph, the Hesychast of Holy Mt Athos, said about helping others: “…Send your treasures to the heavenly storage room. Deposit your wealth in God’s Bank, distributing it to the poor, the orphans and the widows, so that you can receive a million times more in the Second coming of Christ…” Truly, the wealth of this world is transitory; all material gain is fleeting. Only that which is shared endures and only that which is freely given is rewarded by our Heavenly Father Who Himself gave us everything for our eternal salvation.

Please send your donation to the following address:

Decani Monastery Relief Fund

c/o Very Reverend Nektarios Serfes

2618 West Bannock Street

Boise ID 83702

USA

Thank you, and God bless you for your gracious love and kindness! Peace to your soul!

Humbly in Christ our Lord,

Very Rev Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes

President

His Grace, Bishop Teodosije

Abbot of the Decani Monastery & First Vice President

Hieromonk Sava

Second Vice President

Lois Fletcher

Secretary Treasurer

Gioia Maria Frahm

Secretary Treasurer

Telephone Parish Office: 208 345 6147

KIM-Info Service

www.kosovo.net

Editor’s note:

This is a worthy cause. I’m not affiliated with it, nor do I have connection with those running it, except for the fact that we’re all Orthodox Christians. Our Serbian co-religionists need our help. If you have the means, please, be generous.

BMD

Christmas joy for children and returnees to Kosovo and Metohija

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Christmas Liturgy in Visoki Decani Monastery

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This year, Christmas was celebrated once again in Visoki Decani Monastery, as well as throughout Kosovo and Metohija. His Grace Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan served Holy Hierarchal Liturgy with the priest-monks of Decani Monastery in the presence of about 100 faithful, mostly returnees from the villages near Pec. After Liturgy, a Christmas banquet was prepared for all present. This year’s Christmas celebration was attended by Mr Momcilo Jagodic, representative of the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija, and his associates, as well as Mr Guldiman, the head of OSCE in Kosovo, local representatives of UNMIK and international offices in Pristina, and members of Italian KFOR.

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Christmas presents for children from Serb enclaves

 

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The previous day, on Christmas Eve, the ceremony of burning of the Yule log took place in the presence of the monastery brotherhood and about 50 guests of the monastery. On Christmas Eve, Bishop Teodosije and his monks visited several Serb returnee villages in the municipalities of Pec, Istok, and Klina, where he distributed Christmas gifts to the children. According to what has become a tradition, and thanks to donations collected through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, young pigs were distributed to over 180 of the neediest families so that the Serb returnees could celebrate Christmas with a traditional Christmas roast pig.

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Bishop Teodosije visiting Serb returnees to Metohija on Christmas Eve

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Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the USA, who is the chairman of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, gathered 18,000 US dollars before the Christmas holidays, which the monastery brotherhood used to purchase food and Christmas presents for the children. This is the tenth year that the Decani Monastery Relief Fund has been active in collecting a large number of donations and aid for the long-suffering Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. Greeting the returnees and wishing them a happy holiday, Bishop Teodosije called on them to demonstrate courage and determination in the upcoming decisive months. He emphasised that throughout the world there are also many people who want to help Serbs remain in their ancestral homes, as well as to help the many who have been expelled return to their homes. In addition to its regular activity through the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, in 2007, Visoki Decani Monastery also realised several projects for returnees in cooperation with the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade (office in Pristina) and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) from the US Thanks to these projects, several dozen families in Metohija received agricultural machinery, vehicles, and numerous barns for livestock were built in order to strengthen the economic life of returnee villages.

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“Children are our future” … Children taking Communion during Liturgy
in Lipljan on 8 January

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Bishop Teodosije distributes Christmas gifts to children in Lipljan

On the second day of Christmas, Vicar Bishop Teodosije of Lipljan, with the blessing of the local Bishop, served a festal liturgy in the church of Ss Florus and Laurus in Lipljan. After Holy Liturgy, which was attended by about 300 faithful, Bishop Teodosije also distributed presents to the children of this town.

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Children in Lipljan actively participating in Holy Liturgy

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“It’s very important that we constantly remain with the people, especially the children, and that we lend them courage because children are our future and they’re what we need to invest in the most. We have to transcend this age in which we live, all the dangers, all the troubles, poverty, isolation without freedom and basic human rights. That’s why we do all that we’re able to help people materially, as well as with words of solace because they live under extremely difficult conditions, especially in the smaller enclaves”, Bishop Teodosije told reporters after Liturgy. The Bishop expressed his special thanks to contributors to the Decani Monastery Relief Fund and Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes from the US, emphasising that our numerous friends and philanthropists have not forgotten their brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija in these difficult times when Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija live in constant fear for their future and survival.


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Bishop Teodosije addressing the faithful near the old church in Lipljan

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“We live in great uncertainty because we don’t know how this Gordian knot tied in Kosovo and Metohija will be unravelled. Nevertheless, we mustn’t place our hopes in the justice of this world, but in the Lord, Himself a refugee born in a cave in Bethlehem, who brought salvation to all of humanity”, said Bishop Teodosije. He emphasised that the role of the Church in these difficult times is of decisive importance because, he said, the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija can only survive gathered in the Church, which has for centuries lent them the courage to endure all suffering, persecution, and trials.

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Children with Christmas presents in front of the church of Kosovo protomartyrs Ss Florus and Laurus

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KIM-Info Service

9 January 2008

www.kosovo.net

Editor’s note:

We Russians stand 100 percent behind our Serbian co-religionists, and oppose the “independence” of Kosovo absolutely, as President Putin stated recently.

BMD

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